George Ellis: You stated in your book that Miles Davis made an observation about people playing too many notes, and the space between the notes being important. The space between the notes is a field of silence and a junction point between notes and impulses of thought. Could you elaborate on this insight in the context of meditation?
Paul Horn: It’s a paradox: we are given all this energy, we are given a mind which can think, ponder, try to understand, and the questions that arise in the mind result in an internal dialogue almost continuously in our life.
The great value of the TM technique is that it gives me the experience of silence, and through my studies with Maharishi, I gained the intellectual interpretation of the silence and the process of transcending. The test for evaluating the benefits of transcending is not what experiences you have in your meditation, but how your life is going, and then you will see the value of TM. We come to see the real value is that you get out of the way, and let it happen without effort.
You experience the silence, and in that silence when the mind can be still, even for a few seconds, we transcend, and that experience is a personal experience; it is the experience of deep silence where all the potential is located—the field of unlimited potentiality.
“The test for evaluating the benefits of transcending is not what experiences you have in your meditation, but how your life is going.” —Paul Horn
George Ellis: I am wondering how you correlate your experience in music and your meditation, particularly the concept of experiencing the space between notes. For example, you started playing the piano at four years old, and throughout your life before learning TM, music must have given you some experiences and insight into this transcendental experience. Is that correct?
Paul Horn: Certainly I did not view it that way or think in those terms when I was four, or many years after that, but that is right—the experience of being quiet.
George Ellis: I read your beautiful book, Inside Paul Horn: The Spiritual Odyssey of a Universal Traveler, and you say: “We are traveling in historical time, from the present to the distant past. We are traveling inwardly as well, through the music of meditation.” In the book you tell the story of your own life and journey. Could you share the essence of what you expressed in that book? What were you trying to communicate to the reader?
Paul Horn: Music is organized sound. Sound is the basis of creation. The whole universe is comprised of sound. Music, being organized sound, is the vehicle through which you travel as a musician—and everyone relates to music in whatever way. Our essence is sound, the vibration, which is music—organized sound, organized vibration.
“I believe the value of music is that it allows us to transcend the thinking process. If you really get into the music, people have a transcendental experience.” —Paul Horn
In all the travels I have done, I do not think I have met anyone who does not enjoy music in some form because it is in our basic nature; it is what we are composed of—sound. I believe the value of music is that it allows us to transcend the thinking process. If you really get into the music, people have a transcendental experience; they lose themselves for a few seconds, maybe a few minutes, maybe even longer, and that is silence.
People who practice the TM technique are comfortable with that silence, but normally most people do not experience it from the time they wake up in the morning until the time they become unconscious at night, and place the head on the pillow. There is always motion, thought, or something going on. We need to get to a point where we can experience deep silence…
Going into the Quiet
This field of inner silence is where a person’s true Self resides, and he or she experiences their greatness, if you will—it is the gift of life, the great mystery, which is life. We need to stand still, be quiet, and let these feelings emerge, and appreciate and value them.
I believe everyone has these experiences sooner or later while watching a sunset, having a walk by the seashore feeling the warm sand under your feet, the sun on your back, and the glory of it all—most of the time we are too busy for this.
We are fortunate to have a technique available where you go into the quiet… and know intellectually the value of what you are doing. As a result we see the experience and the benefits of TM in our own life manifesting in terms of experiencing and understanding the process of developing inner silence in activity.
“This field of inner silence is where a person’s true Self resides, and he or she experiences their greatness, if you will—it is the gift of life, the great mystery, which is life.” —Paul Horn
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